Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 17:27:10 -0500
From: "Donald M. Lance"
Subject: Re: Beijing /j/

Fom Larry Horn....

> This is very much
>along the lines of what I think is going on with the ch-->sh in unstressed
>syllables "rule". (Besides those Chicago chiropodists with their cheroots,
>there's also chinooks and chicanery, both of which typically are sh- rather
>than ch- initial, despite their spelling; at least the former is an
>unlikely candidate for Frenchification.)

When Lewis & Clark got to the mouth of a pair of river that merge several
miles before flowing into the Missouri, Clark referred to them as "the two
rivers called by the French the two Charatons," which Clark claimed was a
"corruption" of another word. However, the names on other maps have
"charlaton" and similar forms. The 1893 Coues edition of L&C has a long,
long footnote on this name.

The larger of the two is now known as the Chariton River, as is the county,
and the smaller one to the west is called the Mussel Fork. Old-timers say
this name with ch-, but it's popular nowadays to say it with sh-. Because
of vowel mergers, voiced t's, etc. occasionally one sees Sheridan in local
newspaper published by the J-School -- in articles written and proofed by
kids who aren't from central Missouri. The weather guys on local tv
stations also say sh-.